Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salmon Patties

My dear husband and sweet husband of sister's loves salmon. Unfortunately my sweet sister Moon is allergic to all kinds of fishy. This would be great for sister to make for her beloved.

I topped it off with some mayo mixed with some chipotle the pattie a zing. Served with a coleslaw and there ya go. I must also add I have not made these in many, many years and had forgotten how tasty they are.

Salmon Patties


  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon, undrained and flaked
  • 1 slice of bread, shredded
  • 2 chopped green onion, including the green parts
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • half of a red bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • salt
  • pepper fresh ground
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil


1 In a large bowl, gently mix together the salmon, bread, green onion, garlic, bell pepper, flour, egg, paprika, salt and pepper. Form into patties; each about 1/2 inch thick.

2 Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Cook the patties until nicely browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chicken thighs Italian style

First I must apologize for being absent from PBE the last few weeks. We are in an area that is not close to any stores so my creative juices kinda dried up. But I must tell you a Farmers Market is starting up Saturday and every Saturday thru September. Really excited about I'll be sure to have my creative juices stimulated.

Came home from work the other day to discover I had taken a package of chicken thighs out of the freezer but we were going to dinner with friends, OK they’d keep a day. Now it’s the next day and what the heck do I do with those thighs, something different? Sister woulda put those babies in the smoker that she just recently acquired. BBQ’d was not at the top of my list cause the weather was iffy and blowy. Then I remembered a recipe I saw on one of my favorite food sites Pioneer Woman. If y’all haven’t been there go and check Pdub out she’s a a very funny writer and a pretty darn good cook. Her link is over in the left column.

OK I fire up the computer and go look for the recipe and my WiFi is down. Dang!!! let me see if I can recreate this from memory.

Here is the original recipe with my attempt at recreation in red.

Olive Oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
I used 4 thighs
1/2 to 1 medium Onion, chopped
Did not remember the onion in this recipe DUH!!!
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
used 3 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 cup White Wine (or Chicken Broth)
I used 1 cup of beef broth not only because beef broth was all I had but I think beef broth lends a good flavor to the crushed tomatoes
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
I used 1 can of Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes
Pinch of Sugar
Didn’t remember the sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped Fresh Parsley
No parsley on hand
8 large fresh Basil leaves,
Had 4 fat basil leaves

1 package Linguine noodles, cooked
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated, in abundance

Boil a pot of water for the pasta. Cook linguine noodles until al dente.
Heat olive oil in a hot skillet, then add diced chicken thighs in single layer. Don’t stir around; just let them brown on one side. Flip over with spatula, allow to brown, then remove to separate plate. In same pan, over medium heat, add onions and garlic and stir to combine. Pour in wine (or broth) then scrape bottom of pan with whisk to loosen brown bits. Next, pour in crushed tomatoes, add salt, pepper, and pinch of sugar, then simmer for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes, throw in all the cooked chicken, including its juice from the plate. Allow to simmer for fifteen more minutes. Add chopped fresh herbs at the end, then pour over cooked linguine in large bowl or platter. Top with lots fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

I do agree with Pdub for the fondness of chicken thighs, love them. All in all my memory served me well and the meal turned out quite tasty. Added a nice lite tossed salad with garlic toast.

Check out my blog to see where we are and what we have been up to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Work those thighs and butts

At seven A.M. on Sunday I fired up my new smoker. It's the Brinkmann, cheapo model but I wanted to test out smoking meat before I got any deeper in the sport. And sport it is, just visit our good food blog friend, Sylvie at Soul Fusion Kitchen and see all the honors her group has taken. I used her site as a tutorial for my new project. Many thanks to her for the encouragement and all the great into.

My first impression of using this smoker is how much smoke it put out. Yikes, I'd neglected to mention to my neighbors my plans and when I filled the neighborhood with smoke I quickly found one or two to assure them we neither cooking crack nor burning down our house. It does tame down after a while, whew, a relief. Here is something I learned later, wait until the smoke changes color before putting on the meat. Thanks to Jeff at Shifty Squirrel's BBQ for that one.

So what did I cook? I looked at three stores for a pork butt but all I could find was a 7 lb pork shoulder. I think they are pretty much the same thing. I'd promised daughter Maltese Parakeet, lil bird, and her beloved pulled pork sandwiches for dinner and I was aiming for that end. I'd also added a few chicken thighs just because I have two levels of grilling.

The pork roast was rubbed and it rested in the refrigerator overnight wrapped in plastic. My rub might have been a tad bit salty for my taste so I'll adjust next time. Rubs are a matter of personal taste. I did trim off some of the heavier layers of fat. After the fire got going I put the pork on the bottom grill and spent the next nine hours adjusting the fire. Only once did it get under 200 and not for long. I was like an old mother hen watching that thermometer.
Editors note: A remote thermometer was my birthday give from lil bird so I don't have to run outside so often to check, cool.

Chicken was the first out and after they cooled they went into the fridge for another meal. I used the same rub I'd used on the pork but I also brined the thighs for about two hours. They only cooked about four house and were very tasty.
The pork never got to that fall-off-the-bone stage I was looking for but when sliced it had a wonderful smoke ring, was tender and very tasty though I couldn't tell if it was smoky enough since I'd been breathing the smoke for nine hours. The family did agree it was smoky and quite good. I even gave my son-in-law a care package to take home.

Our menu was pork sandwiches with a coleslaw, I'll add that recipe at a different post because I thought it delicious, and baked beans. The bbq sauce was Rudy's, an import from Texas that lil bird picked up while in San Antonio. I've used their rub before, too and it's very tasty.

All in all I believe it was a success but I'll make some adjustments next time. I was very good not to lift the lid so I don't think that was the problem.

Things I did wrong:
  • not enough coals in the beginning
  • maybe a bit hotter temp
  • cooled hot coals too quickly
  • maybe longer cooking time
  • different cut of pork

What's next? I love smoked turkey and can't wait to try it in my new smoker. So look for another post coming soon. Did I give up on the outdoor dutch oven? Nope. I just wanted to branch out a bit. I'm looking forward to my next project, outdoor biscuits.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's a fine chop you've gotten us into

If any of my family can remember what I was going to use this pix for, please let me know. It seems a shame to let this photo go unused and I can assure you I did use the subject for something. I'd never let that lovely pile of fresh, finely chopped red onion go to waste. Some may keep a Kosher kitchen; I keep a Green kitchen as do the other cooks here in the PBE Kitchens. If you search "being green" here on our blog you'll get the idea.

What should I do with this scrumptious little pile of onions? This is not a contest, I'd just like some ideas. How do you use red onions? Raw, cooked, creamed or blanched. Maybe you never use them and I bet that's a good story. Give me suggestions, either e-mail ( or comments. I'd love to recreate that juciy little mountain of chop with my razor sharp Santoku.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Once a hobby, now an obsession

When will she ever stop?

Some people's hobbies can be annoying, you know collecting soda bottles or famous people's hair but mine, Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking, is more than a hobby, it's turned into an obsession. Every time I fix a meal I try to figure out how long it would take to prepare outside? How can I convert that recipe. I must get help but until then here is my latest, Twenty-four hour sourdough bread.

Good ol' reliable Alton Brown actually had an episode on Outdoor Dutch Oven cooking. I'll not put in the recipe, it's called Knead Not Sourdough and can be found on Food TV's site. What I will talk about it the method. You mix flour, salt, a tiny 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, and water and let it set 20 hours, covered, on your counter. Then you do that normal punch down, turn around, and let rise another two hours thing to the dough. What could be easier, other than going to the bakery.

While the second rise is almost done it's outside to heat up the iron. Then toss your formed loaf into a pretty hot dutch oven to bake for 45 minutes. I'm all about the coals so I had what he suggested which I thought was way too many for the bottom. We are still in the experimental part of my obsession so I loaded on the coals.

After 30 minutes you could smell the bread, a good sign but I feared too early. The lid got lifted at 35 minutes and I gasped, yes literally, because it look so beautiful. This is food porn, folks. The temperature was in the range suggested so I hoisted it from the fire. Letting it cool for a few moments I then got some hand protection to remove the loaf. Now here's where it gets funny. It was somehow welded to the bottom of the pan. Would not budge. After I finally grunted and groaned and freed it from the iron it was pretty burnt on the bottom and the bread, though not a total loss, was still a bit doughy in the center. Alton never turned his loaf over, now that I think of it.

I now know I should have gone with my instincts and had less coals on the bottom and that would have slowed down the baking. It was also a bit saltier than I thought it needed to be so I'd cut the salt in half. Someone more experienced at bread baking might have sliced the top a few places before baking. I have no idea what that does but it always looks good.

Other than that it would be great to cook up a loaf of bread while camping. Imagine that lovely smell drifting through the campground. Hmmmm. Just bring me some butter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Step aside Iron Man; Cast Iron Woman is here

My darling companion is known for many attributes--some more outstanding than others--but he is famous for his sweet tooth. He surprised his sister-outlaw, doodles with his keen detection of a full candy dish.

There's a whole long list of reasons why I want him to stay healthy and happy so I've been tinkering with a baked apple dessert. What I came up with wasn't even a dessert, it was breakfast but I'd serve this anytime; an apple pancake.

First of all you'll need an iron skillet or a pan you can use on the top of the stove and in the oven. It calls for bread flour but you can use all purpose. The high protein bread flour helps the pancake to rise.

Baked Apple Pancake

2 tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
eggs, beaten and room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 cup milk, room temperature ( I used non-fat)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425° F. Place oven rack on the middle rack of your oven.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, salt, flour, milk, and vanilla extract; beat until batter is smooth (the batter will be thin, but very smooth and creamy); set aside.

In a large heavy oven-proof frying pan or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter, tilting pan to cover sides. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Stir and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes to slightly cook the apple slices; remove from heat.

Pour prepared batter over apples into pan. Place pan in preheated oven and bake approximately 20 minutes or until puffed above sides of the pan and lightly browned (it may puff irregularly in the center); remove from oven.

Remove pancake from the baking pan by flipping upside down onto a serving platter (apples and cinnamon will be on top). Once out of the oven, the pancake will begin to deflate. To serve, cut into serving-size wedges and transfer to individual serving plates. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

If you use egg-beaters and non-fat milk this is getting in the range of a healthy breakfast treat. It's the caramelized apples that make this so tasty.

Another healthy aspect of cast iron cookware is it leaches small amounts of iron into the food. There's a lot of discussion to whether anemics can benefit from this but a little boost of iron couldn't hurt most of us. Those with excess iron issues (for example, people with hemochromatosis) may suffer negative effects.

Here's a breakdown of the calories/fat. I got three servings out of this recipe but the count even less if you'd cut in into four servings. We were sort of pigs that morning.
  • With non-fat milk, egg beaters and butter= 396 calories/19.6 fat grams per serving.
  • With non-fat milk, regular eggs and butter= 440 calories/24.5 fat grams per serving.
The butter is what adds the heavy fat grams and though you could cook the apples in something other than real butter I wouldn't even try. Sometimes ya gotta just go with it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Let's go Dutch

The Dutch I'm speak about is my new found love, Dutch Oven cooking. This is not that chic little Mario Batali number they sell at Crate and Barrel, nope it's the original outdoor cooking pot. They say the West would not have been settled without it. Since we do a lot of camping I decided I'd give it a try.

This will be a method much more than a recipe.

For hardware you need:
  • Outdoor Dutch Oven with a flanged lid and bottom legs that allow you to place your coals
  • Heavy gloves
  • Charcoal and a way to light it, I used the chimney
  • Long tongs
  • A lid lifter; my darling made mine
  • and all the other normal cooking tools

Here's the software:
  • three chicken thighs
  • three chicken Italian sausages
  • fresh thyme
  • chopped onion, celery, and garlic
  • 1 cup of raw rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Once I started the coals I put all 21 of them under the pot. This gave me enough heat to brown the mean and saute the vegetables.

I did remove the skin from the chicken thighs as it gets rubbery when cooked. After adding the chicken broth and bringing it to a boil I then redistributed the coals.

When you bake you want more on top than the bottom so 14 on top and 7 on the bottom should keep the pot at about 325/50 degrees.

Now to keep everything from burning I gave the lid a quarter turn each fifteen minutes and the pot every 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I lifted the lid and gave everything a stir. It was boiling, not simmer so I removed the lid to vent a bit of the heat. After it stopped boiling I replaced the lid for another 15 minutes. After 45 minutes I removed all the coals and let it set while I finished the rest of my dinner. Cast iron retains heat quite well so it stayed nice and warm.

Because I cooked the rice too hot it blew apart and was a bit mushy. I might cut back on the broth, too. Less coals is what was needed and more checking. There is a fine line with the checking; too much and you lose heat.

Chicken, rice and sausage, what was I thinking. It did need a little color and next time I'd add some red pepper or mushrooms and definitely some chopped parsley for a better presentation.

There is a lot of ash from the coals and I should have had a little whisk brush to get rid of them. I'll add that to my list. Also, lifting the lid must be done with care as not to add the ash to dinner. I never tasted any in this go around.

All in all, it was fun and I plan to take it with us next time we go out in the tear drop. I think I'll need more practice before I try making biscuits or rolls or maybe cornbread, though. When camping there were many who tried cakes and desserts. Some were good and other, well I'll have to try before I criticize.